Sinking into positions when you're not aligned isn't doing you any favors. Photo by Getty Images

Attention Hypermobile Dancers: You're Probably Stretching Wrong

When it comes to flexibility, more isn't always better. Donna Flagg says that many of the dancers who show up at her Lastics Stretch Technique classes at studios like Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway are already hypermobile.

"They're so loose," she says, "they just yank their legs as far as they can." That's not to say that hypermobile dancers shouldn't stretch—they just need to take extra care to keep their joints safe. Flagg recommends a few guidelines:


Pay Attention to Your Alignment

Keep ribs over hips, shoulders over ribs, knees over toes, etc. Even when you're stretching, check your profile in the mirror to correct bad habits.

Don't Go So Far You Can't Control the Position

Work to hold the stretch with your muscular strength and proper alignment. Don't flop over or rest on your arms in stretches like second-position splits.

Only stretch as far as you can maintain alignment and control. Photo via Getty Images.

Balance Your Flexibility & Strength

Focus on creating more stability where you're loose and opening up areas that are tight. (Most dancers have flexible inner thighs and hamstrings, with tight hips and quads.)

Don't Push Farther Than You Need To

If you're never going to split your legs more than 180 degrees apart in choreography, there's no need to stretch further than that.

Give It Space

Think of lengthening when you stretch, rather than pushing into the joint.

Don't Give Up 

When you first start stretching with proper alignment, you might not be able to go as far as you're used to. But if you keep practicing, you'll get back there.

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Courtesy Schelfhaudt

These Retired Ballroom Dancers Started a Dance-Themed Coffee Company

Like many dancers, when Lauren Schelfhaudt and Jean Paul retired from professional ballroom dancing in 2016, they felt lost. "There was this huge void," says Schelfhaudt.

But after over 20 years of dancing, plus United States and World Championship titles, reality shows, and high-profile choreography gigs (and Paul's special claim to fame, as "the guy who makes Bradley Cooper look bad" in Silver Linings Playbook), teaching just didn't fill the void. "I got to the point where it wasn't giving me that creative outlet," says Paul.

When the pair (who are life and business partners but were never dance partners—they competed against one another) took a post-retirement trip to Costa Rica, they were ready to restart their lives. They found inspiration in an expected place: A visit to a coffee farm.

Though they had no experience in coffee roasting or business, they began building their own coffee company. In 2018, the duo officially launched Dancing Ox Coffee Roasters, where they create dance-inspired blends out of their headquarters in Belmont, North Carolina.

We talked to Schelfhaudt and Paul about how their dance background makes them better coffee roasters, and why coffee is an art form all its own:

GO DEEPER